Suicide at Sea and captain charged - Page 47 - SailNet Community
 718Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #461 of 790 Old 01-03-2019
Doesn't sail enough
 
zedboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Eastern Med
Posts: 623
Thanks: 10
Thanked 31 Times in 31 Posts
Rep Power: 10
 
Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

Quote:
Originally Posted by outbound View Post
I believe the captain failed in his duty PRIOR to the crew jumping off the boat. As a neurologist acute delirium has a very specific meaning [...] It is the lack of intervention or obtaining assistance or outside advice prior to the suicide that I believe is the captains failure and he is culpable regardless if he turned around or didnít.
Quote:
Originally Posted by outbound View Post
As captain part of your DUTY is to supervise the health of your crew. From available information this captain failed in his duty.
You're a neurosurgeon, and you know that a guy showing the symptoms of delirium could become a danger to himself or others. But does the seaman's manslaughter precedent indicate that the law requires the captain to take specific actions in that case, and that he is culpable for not doing so?

I think the key here is that he didn't throw out a lifebuoy, activate an EPIRB, or conduct a search. That's standard MOB procedure, and that every captain knows and knows well. The court will have to determine if not seeing the MOB, as well as recently having been assaulted by the MOB, are justification for not throwing/activating/searching.

(Did they have an EPIRB? Is that required for a 6-pack license?)

Morally is a different question - of course one is obligated to do everything reasonable in one's power to save even the life of someone who tried to attack you but is no longer a threat. But given the frazzled state of a captain who seconds ago thought he himself was a goner, I can also understand if his decision making was sub-optimal. Realistically, the only time they had any chance of being useful to the MOB was by searching in the very immediate aftermath.

Was Pontious wearing a PFD?

'78 Dolphin 31
zedboy is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #462 of 790 Old 01-03-2019
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 1,075
Thanks: 109
Thanked 40 Times in 40 Posts
Rep Power: 3
 
Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

Quote:
Originally Posted by willyd View Post
I'm amazed at people's ability to read contrary evidence, or at least possible explanations for what might have happened, and yet stick doggedly to their initial positions, which are identical to what was posted in the first few posts of the thread. Assumptions ain't facts.
**Values** differ.

Assigning bad intent vs seeing symptoms of illness.

Assigning greater or less responsibility to the captain for throwing the schedule away soon as symptoms became apparent.

Brother's keeper principles, vs "taking responsibility for yourself"

If someone attacks you, how much should you still look out for their interests relative to the other crew?

He chose to kill himself, so "shrug problem solved", vs horrified soul-searching "how could that have been prevented?"

Pragmatic caution about going through the expected (required) motions of corpse retrieval (genuine rescue attempt).

etc etc, not least and most importantly,, just how much value does one (stranger's) human life have?

All lead to radically different assessments even if the facts are not in dispute.

Then you get into

"what is right / wrong" as opposed to "what is legally required", since the relationship between the two is tenuous at best
john61ct is online now  
post #463 of 790 Old 01-03-2019
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 3,383
Thanks: 198
Thanked 174 Times in 170 Posts
Rep Power: 3
 
Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

Quote:
Originally Posted by zedboy View Post
a) It was concluded that Smith didn't make appropriate Mayday calls? From the original article it seems clear he did make VHF calls, and tried to make SSB calls, but wasn't able to contact anyone for some time. From the fact he did have Chris Parker alert the CG it seems clear that was his intention
It was reported that there was an EPIRB on board that was not triggered. An EPIRB more or less equates to a Mayday call.

Lots of us wear PLBs we would trigger ourselves if we went overboard, so I dont personally think it would be inappropriate to trigger the vessels EPIRB if some one else went over.
MarkofSeaLife likes this.
Arcb is offline  
 
post #464 of 790 Old 01-03-2019
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Narragansett Bay
Posts: 19,330
Thanks: 82
Thanked 544 Times in 521 Posts
Rep Power: 11
   
Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

Most of our analysis is based upon whatís been reported and is not a conviction. Itís a discussion. I think one should debate their position on what we know.

Further to that discussion is how we may expect any of us will be examined, if we lose a crew member in a passage. I donít expect, for one second, that a prosecutor, let alone a victimís family, is going to take on face value that the Captain could possibly confirm the instantenous death of the MOB that jumped. Iím not saying he is guilty, Iím only saying the mere fact that he claimed a fact must still be examined for truthfulness. Iíve read several that I hope he has better corroboration for. These include explaining the jury how he could know the victim was instantly dead and why his radio worked the next day, but not the day of the event. These could have good answers we havenít read.

Circumstantial evidence will be important here, and that will relate to how believable the testimony is and whether any of the crew contradicts.

I think it stands to reason that the prosecutors interviews would not have made the media renditions more understandable, or they wouldnít have pursued this action.

Itís probably inevitable that a civil action will be pursued as well, regardless of the criminal outcome. In that case the bar is substantially lower. If heís found guilty, itís almost a given heíll lose a civil action. Although, if acquitted, he may still fail the civil test.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Jeanneau 54DS

In the harsh marine environment, something is always in need of repair. Margaritas fix everything.
Minnewaska is offline  
post #465 of 790 Old 01-03-2019
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 215
Thanks: 4
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
Rep Power: 0
 
Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcb View Post
It was reported that there was an EPIRB on board that was not triggered. An EPIRB more or less equates to a Mayday call.

Lots of us wear PLBs we would trigger ourselves if we went overboard, so I dont personally think it would be inappropriate to trigger the vessels EPIRB if some one else went over.
Yupper!

When the MOB tried to call for assistance over the VHF, the skipper told him it wasn't possible because of distance off-shore. Lie. Another boat nearby could respond and/or relay a "May Day" if one was called and someone could receive it.

That the skipper allegedly told the MOB he would "slit his throat if he touched his equipment again", speaks volumes.

I may be very pissed off and stern and insistent that someone not touch things they are not authorized to, but I certainly wouldn't threaten to slit their throat over it, nor do I believe that any reasonable skipper would. (I suppose Blackbeard the pirate may.)

Later the news story says the skipper tried to call another boat but got no response. Did he call a "MayDay"? That would be required as a member of the crew was in clear and eminent danger. We don't know, but based on the other information, my suspicion is not, and I wonder, based on other information, if any call was really made.

I think it was declared somewhere that the boat didn't have HF (SSB), so as they approached Florida many many hours later, they prolly got in touch with Chris Parker via VHF or cell phone.

So if you have no SSB, and nobody responds to VHF (if any call was really made) why not trigger the beacon?

I can't think of any good reason not to (other than to ensure the body is never recovered, or if the skipper believed it simply wasn't worth any attempt to save a the guy in the water, basically handing him a death sentence.).
boatsurgeon is offline  
post #466 of 790 Old 01-03-2019
Senior Member
 
hpeer's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Onboard
Posts: 1,176
Thanks: 12
Thanked 38 Times in 38 Posts
Rep Power: 15
 
Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

USCG report says he called on VHF and SSB right after the incident.

At least thatís what I read, but is was difficult to read in this iPhone.

33' Brewer, Murray 33, steel cutter
44' Pape, Steelmaid, cc steel cutter
hpeer is online now  
post #467 of 790 Old 01-03-2019
Doesn't sail enough
 
zedboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Eastern Med
Posts: 623
Thanks: 10
Thanked 31 Times in 31 Posts
Rep Power: 10
 
Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatsurgeon View Post
When the MOB tried to call for assistance over the VHF, the skipper told him it wasn't possible because of distance off-shore. Lie. Another boat nearby could respond and/or relay a "May Day" if one was called and someone could receive it.

[...]

Later the news story says the skipper tried to call another boat but got no response. Did he call a "MayDay"? That would be required as a member of the crew was in clear and eminent danger. We don't know, but based on the other information, my suspicion is not, and I wonder, based on other information, if any call was really made.
Another boat might hear you. But the likelihood of anyone being in VHF range isn't high. If a non-lucid person tried to call for assistance, a valid simple explanation would be, "we are too far offshore to reach anyone."

The original article states they contacted Chris Parker as quickly as possible and had him contact the CG. Doesn't sound like they were trying to not call the CG - why wouldn't they continue on their course until much closer to destination, then claim they searched extensively but fruitlessly and tried to raise other boats unsuccessfully the whole time on VHF?

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatsurgeon View Post
I think it was declared somewhere that the boat didn't have HF (SSB), so as they approached Florida many many hours later, they prolly got in touch with Chris Parker via VHF or cell phone.
They contacted Parker 32 hours later, after continuing their course, but the winds were stated to be 5 knots, and when the CG sent out a plane, they saw it. They weren't far from the original location Pontious went overboard. They were not VHF-close to Florida. Either they really did have an SSB and tried to use it earlier, and just took a while to raise Parker (makes sense - why would you relay a call to Parker over VHF instead of directly to CG?!), or someone came into range to relay their VHF call.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatsurgeon View Post
So if you have no SSB, and nobody responds to VHF (if any call was really made) why not trigger the beacon?

I can't think of any good reason not to (other than to ensure the body is never recovered, or if the skipper believed it simply wasn't worth any attempt to save a the guy in the water, basically handing him a death sentence.).
Or that you're majorly shaken up by a recent attempt on your life, and it takes you half an hour to get your situational awareness back? By that point throwing out an EPIRB is a waste of a few hundred dollars - why are you marking the spot where the MOB isn't?

There's a critical point here: the point is not to find a plausible chain of events in which the captain sounds grossly negligent. In addition to clarifying questions of fact to the degree possible (obviously it will be critical that all the crew's stories stay consistent under questioning), the jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that there is NO plausible chain of events in which the captain is NOT negligent.

'78 Dolphin 31
zedboy is offline  
post #468 of 790 Old 01-03-2019
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 215
Thanks: 4
Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
Rep Power: 0
 
Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

Quote:
Originally Posted by zedboy View Post
You're a neurosurgeon, and you know that a guy showing the symptoms of delirium could become a danger to himself or others. But does the seaman's manslaughter precedent indicate that the law requires the captain to take specific actions in that case, and that he is culpable for not doing so?

I think the key here is that he didn't throw out a lifebuoy, activate an EPIRB, or conduct a search. That's standard MOB procedure, and that every captain knows and knows well. The court will have to determine if not seeing the MOB, as well as recently having been assaulted by the MOB, are justification for not throwing/activating/searching.

(Did they have an EPIRB? Is that required for a 6-pack license?)

Morally is a different question - of course one is obligated to do everything reasonable in one's power to save even the life of someone who tried to attack you but is no longer a threat. But given the frazzled state of a captain who seconds ago thought he himself was a goner, I can also understand if his decision making was sub-optimal. Realistically, the only time they had any chance of being useful to the MOB was by searching in the very immediate aftermath.

Was Pontious wearing a PFD?
It does not take a brain surgeon to realize that if a skipper believes a crew member has become a danger to himself or someone else, that something should be done to lessen the danger.

According to the news article they had an emergency beacon, but it wasn't triggered.

Yup, I think the skipper made a conscious decision not to attempt to assist the MOB in any way, either because he hoped the body would never be recovered, or didn't care enough to even try.

If it was in a bar and a stranger punched and choked a guy, who knocked them down and walked away to let others take care of him, that's one thing.

(Even at that, I think a decent human being, even 3 sheets to, should stick around to ensure they didn't kill the guy, and try to help if they really hurt them.)

Regardless of any of the reported circumstances, a skipper, responsible for vessel and crew, basically walking away from a MOB assuring their death, is unconscionable.
outbound likes this.
boatsurgeon is offline  
post #469 of 790 Old 01-03-2019
Doesn't sail enough
 
zedboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Eastern Med
Posts: 623
Thanks: 10
Thanked 31 Times in 31 Posts
Rep Power: 10
 
Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

Quote:
Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
USCG report says he called on VHF and SSB right after the incident.

At least thatís what I read, but is was difficult to read in this iPhone.
You are correct.

https://www.penbaypilot.com/sites/de...58875136_n.jpg

Makes a big diff: they were 400nm offshore (see original article) and claimed to be trying to make their Mayday the whole time. The big question is, was the captain duty-bound to effect a search?

'78 Dolphin 31
zedboy is offline  
post #470 of 790 Old 01-03-2019
Moderator
 
MarkofSeaLife's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: London!
Posts: 6,087
Thanks: 62
Thanked 280 Times in 253 Posts
Rep Power: 10
 
Dock
Re: Suicide at Sea and captain charged

Quote:
Originally Posted by zedboy View Post
The big question is, was the captain duty-bound to effect a search?

Bingo! That's why we are 400 posts into this thread!

Sea Life
Notes on a Circumnavigation:
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


People can say they want freedom, but offer them the keys to what chains them, a map to where they want to go,
And they'll turn it down for the cell they know
MarkofSeaLife is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.


User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in











Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 6 (0 members and 6 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Case of NS sailboat captain charged with importing cocaine due in court - CTV News NewsReader News Feeds 0 04-27-2018 03:40 PM
Publisher's death was an apparent suicide (AP via Yahoo! News) NewsReader News Feeds 0 06-20-2006 11:16 PM
Family: Philip Merrill Committed Suicide - W*USA 9 NewsReader News Feeds 0 06-20-2006 11:16 PM
Publisher's Death Was an Apparent Suicide (Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune) NewsReader News Feeds 0 06-20-2006 11:16 PM
Merrill committed suicide, family members say (Baltimore Sun) NewsReader News Feeds 0 06-20-2006 10:15 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome